Mad World — tips from the ‘golden age’ as advertising goes AI

60s style secretary on the phone

From Madison Avenue to MarTech — how did we get here?

Embrace digital change (but don’t forget the fundamentals)

Create messages around emotions (not necessities)

Great creative ideas don’t imitate — they innovate

4 tips for balancing a “Mad Men” mindset with machine learning tech

  • Flip the script — now, we’re not recommending the Lucky Strike “It’s Toasted” technique; probably greenwashing by today’s standards. But taking the less-travelled path when it comes to ideation can work wonders. And your virtual assistant? Well, it might just help get you there a little faster.
  • But don’t create as a committee — for Ogilvy, a lot of adverts looked like the minutes of a committee meeting — because they were. “Advertising seems to sell most when it is written by a solitary individual,” he said. But that doesn’t mean you can’t draw on your team and the power of technology for the research. This leads us to our next point…
  • Give them the facts — Ogilvy said: “When faced with the inconvenient fact that their brand is about the same as several others, most copywriters conclude there is no point in telling the consumer what is common to all brands.” — but facts are crucial to storytelling. And harnessing the power of AI’s deep learning can certainly give your creative an edge when it’s complemented with the right data.
  • Set some limitations — “it takes uncommon guts to stick to one style in the face of all the pressures to ‘come up with something new’ every six months. It is tragically easy to be stampeded into change,” said Ogilvy almost 60 years ago. But the importance of presenting a consistent image and tell a coherent story still holds true today. There’s always a temptation with tech to take advantage of its possibilities. So set some creative boundaries and reap the rewards.



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Andy Baker

Andy Baker


Friendly neighbourhood copy chameleon. Whatever the tone, I’ve got you.